Posts Tagged ‘quilting’
Been a while – SO many things going on, especially politically…and LOTS of sewing/quilting for deadlines and new artwork for an August solo show.
My friend Kathy gets the teachers to create squares for a faculty baby quilt, and then she puts the top together. After the last quilt, we decided the squares needed to be stabilized before the overall quilting – and I show Kathy the joys of spray-basting….this new quilt was a dream to work with. Big and little baby bubbles throughout the border strips and then following the pattern in the outside border fabric for a cross-hatching – which I love, but I will NEVER do it with a regular sewing foot – free motion all the way, otherwise I would still be working on it….Used a New Bryte in orange from Superior Quilts – love the effect and the color is perfect.
The theme is always children’s literature, and the new mom gets a copy of the book that’s in the quilt as a shower gift. Here goes:
There’s another one in the queue – along with a Threads of Resistance quilt, a birthday quilt (actually 2), a reconstructed artquilt, and a LOT of writing….its’ good to be busy!
Can you tell I love me my unpolished red satin? This is “Mandala 1: Core,” also published in Linda Seward’s book Ultimate Guide to Art Quilting Techniques. It’s free motion quilting, but the nice thing about using marbled patterns is that you have lines to follow!
I taught beginning free motion quilting this past Saturday and had a FABULOUS time!! When I did my lesson plan for the class, and then as I was going through it with my students, a few things became very clear to me.
- Everything starts with a straight line done with the free motion foot. It helps develop rhythm and hand placement. No longer will I start with a motif when teaching beginners.
- It’s easy to go from straight line to stippling (large, medium, and micro) as well as figure out how not to get in a corner and have to stop. My students found it very easy to move quickly and easily into curved lines.
- At this point we stopped to talk about threads and tension. It seemed a good point, and there were questions cropping up. The biggest problem they (and probably most of us) have is silencing that Inner Critic and realizing we have to practice – most of us aren’t willing to approach it that way at the beginning. (Ask me how I know that…). One person had bobbin issues, and the rest were concerned with moving that upper tension dial, as well as determining if their machine like same thread top and bottom, or another combination. I need to remember for future classes that “same thread top and bottom” may be more helpful to beginners. I’m so used to the quirks of my machine and how to work with different top and bottom
- Next pattern was a basic heart-shaped leaf, first learned by me in the 2012 Free Motion Quilting Challenge by quilter Frances Moore.
- Pebbles were next – large, medium, fill-ins, different sizes. This seemed a natural progression.
- Then spirals, grid patterns, and feathers. No one really got frustrated, mainly because they could see how previous learning morphed into a new pattern pretty easily.
Lots of samples from me so students could see practical applications within actual quilts, as well as all my practice fat quarters that I now use to practice or check tension before beginning a new project.
Best part? Everyone signed up for Intermediate FMQ in March!
Beginning Free Motion Quilting – Yes, You Can!
4 hours, $40.00 (plus 1/2 hour working lunch) 10:00 – 2:30,
February 11, Saturday
Quilting With Color, Williston, Vermont 802-876-7135
Now what? Your quilt top is done…send it out or quilt it yourself? You can free-motion your own quilt top, no fancy domestic or long-arm machine needed! YOU CAN do it all yourself – it just takes practice! From thread choice, basic supplies, setting up your machine, to learning basic FMQ patterns to build other designs on, you will learn the happy sounds of your machine as you practice six basic patterns on fat-quarter sandwiches: straight lines (without a ruler or walking foot), various size stipples, pebbles, basic feather, grid work, and a leaf/vine shape.
* sewing machine in working order, ability to lower feed dogs, instruction manual (I can’t stress enough how you need familiarity with your machine and lowering the feed dogs)
* free motion (or darning) foot; NEW #80 0r #90 machine needles (#90 might be easier for you if you want to use fancy threads)
* a selection of threads, from “old and cheap” to “fancy and expensive” (cotton and poly are welcome)
* low-loft cotton (or 80/20 cotton) batting in fat quarter size for two quilt sandwiches
* 4 fat quarters (18 x 22 inches), one for the top and one for the bottom of two quilt sandwiches (not fancy fabrics, just for practice, and muslin is fine – tone-on-tone or solid color is best for getting started
* scrap paper and pen or pencil
* marking tools (fabric marker or chalk
* ruler for marking grid lines on the fat quarters
OPTIONAL: small white board and marker for practicing designs; a machine extension table (you will be happier with one…), Machingers quilting gloves.
One of many samples looking at how you can add free motion quilting to your work….
COME JOIN US!!
Yup, two more pieces around for forever…..both needed complete revisions, as my skills have grown quite considerably. The first is a “cheater” cloth, very Southwest, which is why I bought it. Originally it had been quilted in the ditch, and while I loved the co.ors, the piece really didn’t speak to me……so I took it all apart.
And in the process I discovered a ,lot of stuff – pros and cons – about cheater cloth.
One, they are great for practicing free motion quilting. You can get right to the designs without having to worry about putting the whole thing together. I re-sandwiched the top and then studied it for quite a while for ideas.
Two, they can really tax your ability to work with fmq designs. In some of the smaller blocks, I used the same basic quilting motif and changed it up a bit in other blocks of the same design. Great way to practice!
Three, the store doesn’t always do a great job of cutting the panels. On closer examination, you can see where some borders show and some don’t. I really had to work the binding carefully so the piece would look even all around. Plus, the fraying from new usage, poor quality fabric, and age didn’t help at all.
Four, nice decisions about which type of thread to use. I stayed with Superior Art Studios and Rainbows – because I like the sparkle. I did use cotton King Tut because I wanted to experiment with thread painting for shadows, and I didn’t want it really obvious.
Five, I need to get a better photography set-up in our new place…….
Six, discovered I could cover a few binding mistakes with some markers….liking that!
View from the top – couldn’t adjust light like I wanted (really missing the garage set-up at this point). Look at the binding – see what I mean about borders?
Another view – the backgrounds of the actual pots are left unquilted….I was tempted, but I keep remembering Tim Gunn and “edit.” I didn’t want to detract from the “shading” I did on the pots…I was really happy with how that turned out.
Seven – straight-line outlining isn’t as easy with a free-motion foot…but it is great practice….
Lots of finishes going on of projects that have been around for a VERY long time! I had a productive weekend of finishing three, and next blog post should be about two more, as well as a new project undertaken.
First up – a Halloween quilt I pieced probably 15 years ago, when I was using McCalls Quilting and piecing lots of quilt tops. It didn’t really need much – cats’ eyes (variegated thread) and eyes for the ghost (small pieces of lava). I examined the machine quilting, back from when all I did was stippling – I was very happy with how it looked. I added free-motion words in the sky and then added binding. Really happy –
This small 8 x 8 was done YEARS ago in response to a challenge on the QuiltArt list. The theme was “brown,” and this was way back when I was still pretty literal and linear in putting work together. This is “Candy Box,” and I used a zigzag in variegated thread like you would see in the wrappers in a fancy candy box. Added the binding and much pleased with the finished table-topper.
This last piece was a remnant from about 10 years ago. I quilted the bubbles, but it still needed a focal point – so I quilted in some sea urchins…hence the name “Sea Urchins.” Another 8 x 8 stitched to canvas after quilting was finished.
For Sale: $125.00
A great weekend, more happening in the studio…..lots of upcoming opportunities!
I’m unearthing a lot of unfinished projects and pieces of fabrics that can be turned into small art quilts for Etsy, and I also came across a couple of digital pieces (like the above) that need reworking for an upcoming show. It is just amazing to me how productive I have been at getting new – and old – projects completed since we set up the new studio. Here’s pics of the new studio – taken right after we unpacked and stored, so things are cleaner than they are now after three weeks of solid work. Good north light, and lots of surface area.
Stored behind the door, along with mats and combs…..
This can be closed up for an air mattress on the floor for company.
Filled with fabrics and patterns and lots of other goodies….no longer used for clothes!
Sewing table for the last 15 years, lots of room to the left to support larger quilts….almost impossible to keep clean……
For the serger and decorative stitches on the Brother machine….
Happy as a clam, and now to the piece in progress….which is some leftover from another completed piece.
Thread choices –
Didn’t use the blue – too much contrast, and not what I liked – ended up pulling out all the threads…one advantage of not checking the tension – easier to pull out.
Finished project, available in Etsy. I needed to simplify the design – got caught up in following the patterns, so I ended up leaving the bottom corner free of stitching, so it looks like everything is approaching from the northwest.
Serged edges, mounted on wrapped canvas, 12 x 16 inches. Moving right along!!
See that bottom left light blue triangle? Eight hours later, I have learned a couple of new lessons. One, there is something to be said for trying out a motif on scrap fabric and batting. Two ripping out teeny tiny threads can actually be meditative…..
That said, those bottom triangles were going to have a different pattern along the top and bottom. I was thinking a type of lotus blossom (a variation for me on a feather) with smaller feathers inside each petal. Because at this point I wanted a little relief from all the blue. I thought it needed some more color…..I was wrong, at least with the color I chose. I should have stopped after the first petal, rather than completing the triangle…..a lot of my decisions look way better after they are finished. But I was still wrong….maybe if I had left it all in the shiny blue….but it was still wrong. So I knew I had to take it out.
Were the quilt for me, I would have just put it aside until I felt like dealing with it. But no, it’s for my yoga instructor, and I want to get it finished before we have to dismantle the studio for the move. So I started with the seam ripper….three hours Wednesday night, music in the background….the petals were easy in the Magnifico thread – just slid out. NOT SO the feathers…..teeny tiny……three hours Thursday, three hours Friday (yes, a lot of tiny stitches, many on top of each other), and today after 20 minutes I was finished, with two very sore fingers for my efforts.
The fabric looks kind of like a war zone – it’s 16 years old after all, and nothing like that left in my stash – or I could have ironed on a replacement triangle and then quilted that. But the bubble stitching will hold it together, as long as the cats done find a few loose threads of the fabric. And the whole bottom looks much much better. Now for the triangles along the top, and then into the borders……I have to remind myself to plan ahead and if I want to do something fancy, try it ahead of time……..even if rippit is fairly meditative…….
Lots of thoughts kind of rambling through the head these days, main one is that my novel IS DONE!!! (Insert happy dance!) I’ve set up a page through webnode.com to talk about various items related to the politics within the novel, as well as things I’ve discovered in writing fiction. I’ll post it when I’m ready to reveal it for comments. In the meantime I have my last round of editing to do, and then it’s query letter to literary agents. I rethought the ending at least five times, and then I said start writing and see what happens – let the characters talk to me, like they have been doing the whole time.
Another activity has been planning and packing for our move back east. I need me my four seasons! Since I’m retired, I don’t have to go out in the bad weather! We will need to revise how we shop for food, as in the winter months we need to be prepared for days inside. This has all led me to thinking about places to travel in the winter. We may just hop Amtrak to come west during a cold January. I’ve started surfing, and I stumbled on this site on Costa Rica– a place on my bucket list! One look at this place and I’m ready to pack now! Give me the ocean, water I can admire, some unique things to do, and a great place to hang and I’m there!! Las Ventanas del Mar – the ocean view looks spectacular!
The packing for this cross-country move has been interesting. We are downsizing even more from our previous local moves, planning on replacing some furniture when we find a new apartment. I realized my hutch wasn’t important, although I love it – it’s the mementos inside from years of being together. Today we donated tools, stationery, and other odds and ends to Live Theater Workshop, which has provided many years of enjoyable theater experiences. The best one to date has been “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) Revised.” Loads of laughs and great visual gags. All 39 plays in 90 minutes!
All the art stuff – books, supplies, finished pieces – that’s what is really important, and they will be packed about two weeks before the move. I don’t want to look at empty walls and not be near my sewing machine for too long. Which brings me to another thought – Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hours. If you are going to be a professional and really great at something, you need to put in 10,000 hours of practice. I am so far from that! But I will say that the past year has definitely improved my free motion quilting and design skills with the amount of time I’ve been spending on my art. My days have settled in to a nice routine, and I no longer worry about keeping track of what I accomplish each year during retirement. Yoga, writing, sewing/quilting, sketching with pen and ink, walks – a very nice schedule!
In November I got a package of 8-inch squares from my maid of honor of many years ago. Her daughter was now pregnant, and could I take her work at put it together? I remember Shelby starting these squares the first time we made it back to Vermont in 16 years. Anything for my friend of oh-so-many years!
Kathy and I go way back – and I have promised many times to keep some of our more interesting escapades from her three children (which means a WHOLE LOT of interesting stories are sealed). But I think taking me in the Big Bird costume we built for our play stuffed in the front of my VW for Halloween dinner at KFC is probably pretty harmless. Oh, if only we had digital cameras then……a moment in history gone forever……(and that chicken wire frame did a lot of poking…..)
So on Tuesday I finished the quilt, took pictures, packed it, and shipped it off, where it should be arriving today, two weeks ahead of the baby shower. Here she be –
Shelby wanted an ocean theme, so the blue is an underwater scene, left over from another quilt project. Love this fabric, and in the light it is even more gorgeous. The border is a stencil of fish, and the two empty blocks (which is the only thing I would revisit if I were to do this again) is some free-motion quilting in a blue Fantastico from Superior Threads.
So much fun to do!! Now for the next quilt in line, for my yoga instructor…gotta get it done while it’s still cold enough to use!
I must confess, by Tuesday evening I wasn’t sure I would have the quilt for our good friend completed……We had plans for Wednesday and Thursday, so last-minute was going to be Tuesday evening…..and I still had to finish a rolled hem on a silk scarf………But I made it, hubby photographed it Wednesday morning and finished cutting off miscellaneous threads. It was a HUGE hit last night at the presentation – everyone needed to take a turn snuggling under it! Originally I was going to make another nap quilt, since the first one I made for our friend turned out to be too short to wrap herself in. This ended up queen size…..
…and there are a lot! Four quilts lined up, including the one you’ll see pictures of here.
We have a really great friend here in Tucson, and several years ago I made her a lap quilt as a birthday present. Trouble was, she can’t get completely covered under it when she wants to take a nap on the couch. So I decided for this year to make her a bigger one…..turns out I processed “66 inches” differently from 5 and a half feet. This is one big quilt! It should easily cover his double bed, which is exactly what she would like.
I am using a pattern I saw from Geta Gamma from Romania – I loved the design, especially the quilting, and am doing it in shades of purples and blues. It’s getting quilted to within an inch of its life! Needless to say, I am getting very good at free motion quilting feathers. The stencil work has been interesting – at one point I forgot about the registration marks and turned the pattern, but I am the only one who knows that.
I caused some bleeding with one of the fabrics when I attempted to use a stain remover to get out the rest of the gray chalk marks. I will need to use a little paint to cover that up. I have 8 days to finish – started about three weeks ago, and I should make the Christmas deadline. It is really looking good.
It is a little tough on the shoulders, cramming that quilt around under my trusty Bernina 1008, but I am getting much better at that. Thankfully the remaining three quilts are all much smaller. After this one, though, I am taking a quick break to do some traditional blocks in a Hawaiian theme for a block of the month, making a queen size quilt for my own bed…..then back to the list!
Some progress pics of my version –
Sweet hubby helped with all the pinning…..
It’s been an interesting year. Two years ago this time, I looked at my blog and was 200 posts away from 1000. I thought no problem, I can do that easily. Well, I am still about 185 posts away from 1000. Life really has gotten in the way, with illness, depression, and a sense of disequilibrium. It has taken a while to determine what paths I will be following.
It is also ironic that while I haven’t written many blog posts, I have written 110,000 words in a novel. This has been ongoing since August of 2013. I am nearing the end of what looks to be volume one of a trilogy. It is my way of processing political events in this country and trying to deal with how this country is changing. It has meant some interesting research (what is the saying about a true friend? One who will clean out your browser history after you die?). I’ve delved into some pretty terrible things on human trafficking, read lots of government reports, and overall tried to get up to speed on policy that I haven’t spent much time caring about in the past. It will be interesting to see if I can find a publisher….in the meantime, I have started a webpage for the book: http://the-secession-wars.webnode.com/. This is very much a work in progress, and I want to include writing tips as I finish up the novel.
I’m doing a lot of quilting. I’ve been slowly moving away from the marbling business, and I’m not sure how I feel about that. We still enjoy marbling, but the business end of it is tedious. I have lots of projects using the fabrics I have, but not the energy to do anything. I have been quilting other projects, and I have four commissions for quilts lined up: for a good friend, for a new baby,
for my yoga instructor, and for my great niece. I made the commitment to myself that when each of my eight great nieces and nephews turn 13, I will gift them a quilt. Gracie is the oldest, and she turns 13 this August. I want to have the quilt finished for when we move back east and stop to see them on the way. I found a great fleece in her favorite color for the backing, so that’s in the queue.
I’ve also taken up sketching again, through a couple of Craftsy classes. I did some sketching on the road this summer, but I want to make this a regular habit. Pen and ink has always been my medium (and charcoal, too), which is probably why I took to zentangles so quickly.
I have joined a weekly writing group to make my writing more of a regular practice. We meet for two hours and just write – a brief statement of intentions from each person in the group, and then it is total silence for writing. It’s been great, and I think it will get me back to blogging on a regular basis.
So this is a quick catch-up, more so for myself, as I look back on what has happened over the last years.
Till next time…..
Yet another gorgeous day! We were so worried about all the rain and tornadoes, but I’m thinking we’ve brought the good weather with us! We left Des Moines, gorgeous morning, and finally crossed the Mississippi. There is something mythic about this mighty river and it’s division of the country. Every time we cross the Continental Divide, I think about the water that flows to the Mississippi. And the gateway to the westward movement, with all its pros and cons. And Mark Twain, whose many books I have read. I always feel like I am entering or leaving a different country. The day was quiet, and very relaxing…Iowa is certainly “heartland.”
Illinois just seemed soft and green, lots of farms, not nearly the amount of sprinkle systems that we saw in Nebraska. It is SO NICE to see rivers with water in them! And I must say, Iowa has some of the nicest roadside stops!
We traveled through Illinois, past Regan’s birthplace, into Wisconsin, and finally to Milwaukee. We weren’t sure we’d head this far north, but I have always wanted to visit this city. Tomorrow we are doing a boat cruise around the lake and river.
Here’s a few shots from today.
We noticed in Illinois that the mile markers were in fractions…one-quart, half, and three-quarter. Very cool…I’d like to know why….in Wisconsin the markers were in two-tenths….also cool!
Tomorrow on the water!
I belong to the online group Art Quilts Around the World, and we have just posted our last challenge, Out of Asia. My piece came out really well, and we pick it up from the framer tomorrow. It just had to be stretched and matted, and if it comes out like we think, it will be spectacular. Here’s the story behind “Ode to Hokusai: DragonFlight.”
This was an interesting challenge. I knew the fabric I wanted to use almost immediately the topic was announced. This was a piece of cotton lame’ that we marbled about 10 years ago. It read Asian to me as soon as I rinsed it out, and it went into the “save” pile for some time in the future for when I could figure out what to do with it. I have done a couple of pieces of cotton lame’, one of which is on the website – green cotton lame’ called Rainforest. I wanted to do more, because of the properties of lame’, but is seems in the last ten years that formulas have changed, and there seem to be a lot more additives to the fabric. My last attempt at lame’ didn’t work well at all……
So this is the piece that sat on the design wall for six weeks.
I knew I couldn’t cut it, even though it is slightly smaller on one side and larger on the other from our group sizes. I just couldn’t cut it………so I figured I would just quilt the lines to accent the wave, reminiscent of “The Great Wave” by Hokusai – one of those pieces of artwork I easily recognize every time I see it. It’s almost like I planned that wave, when the whole piece really was an experimentation with a different comb (literally, a small hair comb for teasing the hair).
So I started on the center section, figuring I wold just accent the lines of that wave. Normally I would have pulled out black silk thread, since I really just wanted texture, but the dark green (Silk Kimono by Superior) kept calling my name. It is so subtle, but what it did was soften the black in the design – which I liked. Who knew? And with the light on it – it’s perfect.
I loved it when it was done – so much of a great wave, you could almost match it up with the master! So I kept looking at it and pondering where I would go from there……how much more would get quilted?
Serendipity struck, in the form of hubby the other marbling artist…who took one look and said, “I thought you were doing a wave? This is an amazing dragon. ” From then on the dragon was the overall image I saw every time I looked at the piece, so I just had to listen and figure out the next steps.
There is some very light blue within the colors, so I chose a blue silk Kimono thread to accent the blue, sort of like glistening dragon wings (too much Anne McCaffrey and Pern….). Then I wanted to do more quilting in the background to accent the idea of flight, so I went with a pale orange silk Kimono, just for wind and/or wave ripples. I ripped out a few lines because it just seemed like too much. Finally I just said “done,” because it seemed to have everything it needed. It is at Michaels right now getting stretched on foam core and a 2-inch black mat, as it said “I want to be framed.”
Above all, I listen…..
You can see other fabulous pieces here.
I’ve been retired now for two years. Last year on the one-year anniversary I took a look at what I accomplished for the year. I was afraid of looking back on retirement and not seeing anything to show for it. So I tracked everything this year. The last four months have been pretty fallow, as I struggled with some personal issues, but I feel like I am finally reclaiming myself. All in all, I had a pretty productive year.
SAQA quilt submitted to major show
SAQA auction quilt submission
Tried out Tophatter, gave it up after some really obnoxious feedback from an a-hole, who actually burned my quilt
Newsletters for 10 out of 12 months
Wrote a dozen blogs for Handmadeology
Remade hubby’s blue quilt
Participated in the free motion quilting challenge through the end of the year
Yoga instruction throughout the year, including pretty regular daily practice
Completed Stepping Stones table runner
Completed “Clammin’,” a small art quilt up on Etsy
Completed pattern and two samples for the table runner pattern
Machine-quilted the Forest quilt
Machine-quilted two bed-stand table-toppers and one dresser scarf
Worked at stocking and marketing the Etsy store
Took a Quilt University class with Elizabeth Barton
Finished Spring Wall Hanging
Guest post on Craft Gossip
Finished makeover of small Christmas quilt
Quilted Ali’s green picture
Participated in three challenges for Art Quilts Around the World
Took two Craftsy classes
Joined Galleribba online gallery
Potentialgallery representation starting fall 2013 in Tubac
Participated in StashFest again this year for the La Conner Quilt Museum
Submissions for three books, one accepted, the other as an ebook
Green and purple whole cloth quilts completed
Started commission of 7 quilted chakras, finished Root chakra
Completed two bed-stand table toppers and one long dresses scarf
Accepted into the juried Faculty/Staff art show for The Art Institute of Tucson
There are probably a couple more, but the mind has been kind of blank. It’s nice to have this list, so I know I accomplished a lot! Now I have to start the new one for year three.